(CNN) –– US President Donald Trump appeared to confuse the two world wars on Monday, telling journalists that the 1917 flu pandemic “probably ended World War II.” And he added that “all the soldiers were sick.”
“The closest thing is in 1917, they say, the great pandemic. It was certainly a terrible thing to lose 50 to 100 million people, “Trump said.
Since taking office, the president has visited France several times to celebrate the Allied victories in both World War I and World War II, and last year he paid tribute to the American veterans who helped liberate Europe. control of Nazi Germany during a visit to Normandy to honor the 75th anniversary of D-Day.
Trump made the comments while defending his administration’s response to the current covid-19 pandemic, once again maintaining that his decision to close the U.S. borders to China and also to Europe helped contain the spread of the coronavirus. “We would have had a million and a half or two million people dead by now,” Trump said.
However, health experts have said that the lack of a unified federal response in the United States has prevented the country from containing the spread of the virus. Many blame the administration for allowing states to decide whether or not to follow the guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on how to safely reopen the economy and businesses.